- please forgive any cross-posting -

The Black+White+Pink consultation forum on the draft document of
Reconciliation last week was a successful evening. Aden Ridgeway gave an
interesting talk, and spent the whole of the evening at the event, relaxed
and chatting to everyone there. This was the evening before he and John
Howard spent the day together pushing the preamble, so we felt quite
honoured that he felt able to spent some quiet time with us, sitting at the
back, while the draft document discussions took place.

He told a couple of funny stories.The one which helped me understand what
was going on in Aden's head was a story about John Howard, and explains why
Aden feels that he should be working with him.

At a fund raiser for Bangara Dance Company,  Howard managed to stun everyone
present. He began his address by actually acknowledging the Traditional
Owners, leaving the audience totally dumbfounded! Aden continued by
reminding us that for someone as small minded and hard hearted as John
Howard this is actually an enormous step forward, as compared to people who
are more generous of spirit and warm hearted who may feel that the small
steps that Howard takes are insignificant.

Anyway...here is a report of the forum from the Sydney Star Observer (4th
November). I have added the Black+White+Pink statement for Reconciliation as
well as the URL's for some pix of the evening.


Another 'seven generations' to achieve Reconciliation
Brendan Bolger

Former Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras president Bev Lange has been
appointed to act as the lesbian and gay community representative on the
State Reconciliation Committee.

Lange's appointment comes at the same time members of the lesbian and gay
community directly contributed to the Council for Aboriginal
Reconciliation's Draft Declaration for Reconciliation.

The workshops were held on Tuesday evening at The Settlement in Chippendale
attracting about 40 people, where Democrats Senator Aden Ridgeway addressed
the gathering.

Ridgeway said although the Council's terms of reference in achieving
reconciliation expire next year he would net expect the desired results of
Reconciliation to take hold for at least another "seven generations".

The Reconciliation process has already been under way in Australia for
almost a decade, he said.

Black+White+Pink spokesperson Patrick McGee said the workshops arrived at a
consensus that the draft document was not strong enough and there were
inconsistencies with the facts.

For example the statement: "We acknowledge this land was colonised without
the consent of the original inhabitants" should reflect the truth that it
was actually a war, he said.

"The general consensus was to support the existence of a declaration but we
felt it was net specific or strong enough," McGee said.

State Reconciliation Committee manager Shelley Raes said the
Black+White+Pink statement for Reconciliation was something she used in her
work "all the time".

"Part of my role is to encourage groups and organisations ... to adopt and
commit themselves to the ethos of Reconciliation and make it a reality," she

"And I often use the Black+White+Pink statement as a practice example to
anyone, to say, if you're going to [get] somewhere, have a read of this,
it's fantastic."

B+P+W comprises more than a dozen lesbian and gay community organisations
committed to achieving reconciliation with the nations indigenous people



A statement of support from Sydney Gay & Lesbian community organisations


The Australian Reconciliation Convention was held in Melbourne in May 1997.
Extraordinary attacks have been directed at the Reconciliation process from
all sectors of the Australian community.

Representatives from several of Sydney's lesbian and gay community
organisations met to discuss the Aboriginal Reconciliation process. We
agreed that it was time for us to issue a statement in support of the
Reconciliation process to present to the Reconciliation Convention. This
statement is  intended to be the beginning of a wider debate about the
Reconciliation process in the lesbian and gay  community.

Statement of Support

We affirm the essential nature of the Reconciliation process to the
development of a truly civil society in Australia, which values diversity
and the contribution of all its citizens, both now and into the future.

We are proud to live in a nation with the oldest indigenous peoples in the
world. We believe that non-indigenous Australians have a great deal to gain
from Reconciliation by coming to terms with our collective past and valuing
Aboriginal culture and history.

We acknowledge the graciousness and patience shown by Aboriginal people and
we seek to further Reconciliation by playing an active role in the process
both within our own and the wider communities.

We believe that Reconciliation is everyone's responsibility. True
Reconciliation will not be achieved through a one-sided process in which
indigenous people are expected to give way to others' interests  and give up
their rights in the interests of national 'harmony'. Non-indigenous
Australians must acknowledge that Aboriginal people's human rights have been
systematically eroded over the last 200 years.

We believe that genuine Reconciliation will only be achieved when we
acknowledge the truth about the often brutal nature of European settlement,
acknowledge that it was an invasion resulting in the dispossession of
Aboriginal people. This dispossession continues today through
discrimination, disinheritance and the devastation resulting from past
assimilation policies.

We must be prepared to listen to Aboriginal people's points of view. We must
recognise the special relationship that indigenous Australians have to the
land; their grief occasioned by theft of their land and  forced removals
from their families. We must acknowledge the central nature of land rights
to Aboriginal people's self-esteem.

We oppose any explicit or implicit extinguishment of native title and the
removal of the right to negotiate on land use. This is a form of
discrimination against Aboriginal people: it removes rights from them  which
will continue to be held by all other title-holders.

We believe that human rights are inalienable and indivisible and that the
human rights of all Australians must be protected from extinguishment for
reasons of convenience or certainty.

We oppose any watering down of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The Australia Day national holiday falls on 26 January, commemorating the
arrival of the First Fleet and the beginnings of colonisation and
dispossession. It is an impediment to the realisation of Reconciliation
because Aboriginal people are excluded from celebrating national unity with
other Australians. We believe that the holiday should be moved to another
day of the year.

What has all this got to do with the lesbian and gay community? Lesbians and
gay men have been, and continue to be, on the receiving end of hatred and
discrimination. We oppose all forms of bigotry and  injustice and recognise
the connections between them. Racism and the Reconciliation process are very
much our business as there are gays and lesbians in all sectors of the
community and all population groups, including the indigenous community.

We acknowledge that racism exists within the lesbian and gay community and
that indigenous gays and lesbians often feel alienated and unsupported by
our community.

We intend to work actively to change this by addressing Aboriginal issues
and promoting indigenous visibility and leadership, by fostering debate and
by developing Reconciliation strategies and responses  within the lesbian
and gay community.

Bruce Grant
Coordinator, Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project
Stevie Clayton, Simon Lloyd
Co-Convenors, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby

Lynne O'Brien, Stephen Auburn
Co-Presidents, PRIDE - Sydney Lesbian and Gay Community Centre

Ross Bennett
Coordinator, 2010 Lesbian and Gay Youth Services


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Lesbians on the Loose


Sydney Star Observer

Town and Country MIA Gay and Lesbian Support Group

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir

The Feminist Bookshop

Sydney Gay Games 2002

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